Traveling is a risky business. Any die-hard traveler can tell you stories of robbery, theft or illness, but thankfully most of them are laughable in retrospect. However these issues can also be very serious, not only impacting the quality of your trip but also the quality of your health and well-being. It is therefore crucial to take heed of any available health and safety precautions in order to avert any preventive risks. Please understand that these cautions are not intended to invoke fear or paranoia, they are simply suggestions for responsible travel solely intended to enhance your travel experience.
Make sure to research in advance whether or not your chosen destination requires or suggests any vaccinations or medicines. Such requirements and suggestions will vary with the region of travel, time of travel and potential recreational excursions. All travelers should make a small first-aid travel kit comprised of basic over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, anti-diarrheal and common cold medicines, iodine tablets, bandages, and sanitary wipes. In addition, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions be sure to bring an extra supply of medication as well as documentation of your condition.
In order to help reduce the risk of suffering from common, yet highly uncomfortable, travel ailments be sure to pay attention to your environment. If you are not certain of the source of a food or beverage or trust its sanitary conditions, chances are you do not want to consume it. For travelers who are engaging in risky activities or staying in remote destinations this can be easier said than done, so come prepared with your first-aid kit.
Deciding on a Destination
While contemplating a travel destination, it is advisable to check with your government to see if there is a travel advisory issued for the country of your interest. Government issued travel advisories are not meant to prevent you from traveling to your dream destination, however they are meant to provide you with the latest information so that you can make an informed decision about where to travel.
Many people think that safety concerns are solely centered around violence and crime issues. While those concerns are important, all of us here at Global Basecamps would rather have you get your camera stolen than be in accident while abroad. Vehicle, bus and marine accidents account for the majority of all injuries and deaths to travelers abroad. Road conditions are dramatically worse in developing countries and a lack of traffic regulations only increases the risk of vehicle accidents. Therefore if possible, travel by plane or train is strongly recommended versus travel by bus or car.
The most important factor to securing your personal safety is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. As a foreigner you will already stick out of the crowd so try not to draw any more attention to yourself than you already do. Be reserved in your attire, speech and behavior and always be respectful of other people's customs and traditions. In addition, the general safety rules that you abide by at home apply abroad as well: secure your valuables, don't walk home by yourself at night, be cautious of suspicious characters, etc.